Today you get to read an incredibly precious piece from my sister (almost, at least) and her husband, Carlee and Matt Miller. Carlee and I spent high school across the street from one another. We dreamed of our futures together—both in ministry and as wives. Ironically, we ended up engaged at the same time and married months apart. Carlee’s take on engagement and marriage is so refreshing. She reminds us all that although it can be so easy to get caught up in the planning, our most cherished part should be the people and gives some great advice to those who are considering marriage… ever. Enjoy!
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Woah, weird that Lauren and I are such sweet friends and now have blogs about the blessings and hardships of married life. I am blessed to walk next to her through this stage of our lives.
OUR BEFORE (Do Premarital Counseling!)
Carlee: I loved being engaged! It was full of blessings. Premarital counseling and financial counseling produced the most tangible fruit in our relationship. I would definitely encourage everyone to do it! We learned how to pray together and be spiritually intimate together. I secretly wish we were still engaged so we were still going through counseling. I am always excited to talk to newly engaged couples about their premarital counseling because it was what kept us focused about our future marriage and not about our future wedding.
Matt: Marriage counseling taught us how to bear fruit in our future marriage and what our future interactions should look like to glorify God. We talked about how to be on the same page as far as the standards we have for each other, which has been really useful. I saw God work through the selflessness of everyone that was around us, we doubted some things getting done, but God allowed us to get those things done through people’s sacrifices and gave us patience through changing of plans. I still can’t thank them enough.
Carlee: Leading up to the week of the wedding, I felt like I had done nothing. Unlike most, I did not enjoy wedding planning; therefore, when the week of the wedding came, it brought along many things I did not enjoy doing. Moreover, it came with a harsh reality: I would move away from my home to be with my husband. The day came with a lot sentimental goodbyes, and I was not always in the best mood. Honestly, I struggled to cherish every moment of my wedding week.
On the other hand, our wedding day was perfect. Matt and I chose to not have a bridal party. Yet we were able to spend the entire day side-by-side rather than getting ready. We read letters we had written under a tree, we helped set up tables, and we walked around all the day long taking pictures. I would not change one thing about that. I loved that we got to really enjoy each other before the wedding.
Because at the reception, we barely saw each other! We were both socializing. And by socializing I mean I was dancing like a fool.
God taught us that no matter how little planning we did for our day, marriage was the end goal. And everyone we loved got to be a part of it! God’s placement of every volunteer was so overwhelming. He convicted us to cherish the moments with each other on our wedding day, rather than allow it to be filled with other things.
So I am encouraging you, plan some one on one time with your man! Especially if you are going to see him before the ceremony.
Matt: Starting the day reading our letters as one of the last things that we did as an engaged couple really allowed us to center this day on us, rather than the event of the party (which was definitely something to be excited for). It was really cool to be so confident that all the people who witnessed our union were seriously going to help us grow in Christ and support our marriage forever.
Carlee: As I said a lot of tearful goodbyes that night and the next day, I struggled to see The Lord’s plan in moving to Lexington. Guess what: I still struggle. But I know that His plan will reign. Marriage in a new city has taught me how much I love Matt and how much I am going to have to rely on him when I am weak. God is still in this city and we are already seeing that through His people here, quickly realizing that His work in us will look different in every stage of our life.
We are seeing this as we learn to serve one another. As we talk about everything from Jesus to church to finances to how many more meals we can make with leftover wedding food! Our marriage now comes before our wants and desires for career, school, or preferences to be near our family and friends.
Matt: Well we are still alive. Marriage has forced us to be honest about our feelings even in the small decisions! I love praying together before we fall asleep, to keep us focused and thankful. We sacrifice new things for each other, like doing the dishes, or walking our sweet dog so the other one can sleep in longer. We cherish those moments so much and know that our motives come from serving each other, because of our Christ like picture of what marriage is. Sometimes we both feel guilty about the other person serving us, but it is SO cool at the same time.
Carlee: One piece of advice for those who identify with me, who struggle to find joy leading up to the wedding: cherish what you do love about this process, the people. Pray prayers full of thanksgiving for the opportunity to see everyone who loves you, even if you aren’t all about the “wedding spotlight”. Although I tend to hate being lavished at showers and at bachelorette parties, I found such joy in loving on those who were loving on me.
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I love that last piece of wisdom Carlee provides. Love on those who surround you. That sentiment should reign true in every aspect of a relationship in this world and our relationships with Jesus. He has provided us with people who surround us. As you consider what The Lord has for you next—whether it be an eventual marriage, an ongoing relationship, or moving forward in your relationship with Jesus—let us consider how we can love on people better. How we can take the love He has given us and lavish it upon others.